Why Apple’s ‘Mac mini’ is so special: it’s the software, stupid

“The small architecture Mini PC is nothing particularly new, but what intrigues me is the fever pitch it is creating among Mac fans. Windows based Small PCs have been around for a while without much success. Steve Jobs cannot be accused of introducing small architecture PCs, and that’s for sure,” The Inquirer writes in a piece attributed to “The Inquirer Staff.”

“For example, Stealth Computers has Pentium 4, Pentium III and fanless models to boot. While they are more expensive than the Apple Mac Mini, you do get what you pay. For example, the Mac Mini has a 4200 RPM 40GB notebook hard drive, while the Stealth has 3.5-inch hard drives, although you can get it with 2.5- inch drives if you so desire. The Mac Mini has a 1.25GHz or a 1.42GHz CPU while a Stealth can be configured up to a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 capable of hyperthreading. The Mini has one memory slot while the Stealth has two,” The Inquirer writes.

The Inquirer writes, “But the real question is how can the Mac Mini sell in large volumes if people have to buy keyboard, mouse, monitor and speakers, and be stuck with a 4X burner on DVDs without a real upgrade path? In the ever changing PC Hardware world I believe that having a way to upgrade without having to buy a new PC makes for an easy choice.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you totally ignore the Mac mini’s rock-solid operating system, Mac OS X, which lacks viruses and malware as well as the mini’s unmatched included software, any comparison with a Wintel PC is worthless. Sadly, that’s what this article does. If you want to read real reviews of Apple’s new Mac mini that show understanding of the entire package, try “Tools Of The Trade: The Apple Mac Mini,” Stephen Pritchard’s piece for The Independent or Stephen H. Wildstrom’s “And For Steve Jobs’s Next Trick… The Mac Mini offers flexibility and style at just $499,” for BusinessWeek. Both of these articles are worth the read, unlike The Inquirer’s.

46 Comments

  1. “While they are more expensive than the Apple Mac Mini, you do get what you pay.”

    Idiot! If you’re willing to pay more Apple offers some very powerful and well-equipped computers as well. Duhhh!

    Secret word: doubt, as in I doubt this common ‘tater switched on his brain before putting his mouth in gear.

  2. The Inquirer doesn’t know how the Mac mini can sell in large volumes.

    That’s more of a criticism of the Inquirer than it is a criticism of the Mac mini.

    OK, the journalist doesn’t get it, but the people waiting to buy them are able to understand what the appeal is.

    But the thing that’s escaped his attention is that it’s not being bought just by “Apple fans’. It’s also being bought by people who used to be PC fans.

  3. The 2 things I have a hard time getting past in these “reviews” of the Mini.

    The first is the constant reference to…”… is how can the Mac Mini sell in large volumes if people have to buy keyboard, mouse, monitor and speakers,…”

    What, are these people that review computers REALLY that uneducated when it comes to a KVM switch? 99% of these articles NEVER even mention that totally SIMPLE solution!!!!!!!

    The scond is the UNFAIR comparison of a “similarly” spec’ed out PC. NONE of the PC’s they mention come with ANY software that matches iLife. If you want o do a similar breakdown it SHOULD be priced like this:

    Mini – $420 (minus iLife).

    Alos, why has no one pointed out that unlike Windows XP Home you DO NOT HAVE TO ACTIVATE PANTHER!!!!!

    You don;t just get 5 installs and then have to call a CSR to get more unlocks!!!

    magic word is “only” – as in “If ONLY these frigging hacks could write a decent review!!”

  4. “In the ever changing PC Hardware world I believe that having a way to upgrade without having to buy a new PC makes for an easy choice.”

    If only this happened more often. Most ‘PC Families’ I know pass Dad’s virus-ridden PC to the kids and buy a new PC laptop for themselves as it’s easier than fixing the problems. Upgrading an existing PC is for geeks and professionals only (like me), and even they upgrade every 2-3 years. I will have no problem upgrading to a G5 Mac mini in 3 years and the current Mac mini will be running better for the kids than a 3 year old PC would.

  5. Another True Tale from THE CONSULTING UNDERGROUND…

    Friday night at 05:30pm got a call from a clothing manufacturer. E-mail server down and they needed it back up ASAP. They told me it was Windows. I said, “Huh? Where’d you get my name?” Some guy I used to work with back in the day at Bank America gave them my name.

    The guy on the phone described the server. Some big honking Dell. Dell had given them the name of some local Dell Certified consultants. The Dell guys estimated the cost to get the server back up and running to be $1500.

    I asked are there any Windows specific applications running on the server? They guy said it only handled e-mail, but it had to work for Windows e-mail clients. I said I can be there in 45 minutes.

    I just happened to have a Mac Mini with me. The low end one. I’d been carrying it around in my bag to show people. I’d had it for about 2 weeks and haven’t even hooked it up yet. Everywhere I took it, people were astonished. People love the Mac Mini. Especially when they actually see it. Everyone knows it’s small, but it doesn’t really hit you how small it is until you lay eyes on it.

    Anyway, I show up at this guy’s place in downtown Los Angeles. I take a look at the Dell server, and he asks, “Can you fix it?” I say, “Why bother, I have another server here somewhere.” So I start digging around in my bag making a show of it. “Hmmm… I know it’s in here somewhere.” The guy says, “Are you saying you have a server in your bag?” Then I whip out the Mac Mini.

    You could have knocked him over with a feather. He was freaked out and resistant at first thinking that e-mail has to run on a big Windows machine.

    17 minutes.

    It took 17 minutes to take the keyboard and monitor from his Dell, configure the Mac Mini, add usernames and passwords, and have it serving e-mail for the 15 or so people who needed it.

    I charged him my cost for the Mac Mini, and $100 for my time, which came out way less than the $1500 the Dell consultants were going to charge.

    AND it turns out he uses a web based management system for his company. We tested it, it works fine on the Mac. I demonstrated OS X on my PowerBook, showed him the facts of life concerning the Virus and security situation. He’s spent a small fortune already bringing in people to de-virus and de-spyware his machines. Next week he wants to talk about replacing the aging Compaqs in his company with Mac Minis.

    Just goes to show ya. My first inclination was to tell the guy, tough luck, it’s Friday, I’m going home to watch Stargate and Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek because it’s what geeks do on Friday night.

  6. theloniusMac wrote ” . . . it’s Friday, I’m going home to watch Stargate and Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek because it’s what geeks do on Friday night.” Friday nights are the best g*ddamned night for scifi!!!!

  7. Great story ‘thelonius’ –

    just to think, he would have spent $1500 and still had a crappy Dell server which would have needed another $1500 repair sometime soon. Now, for less than half that cost, he has a solution which will bear fruit for the rest of his life.

    Congrats – have a drink on me tonight. Awesome job.

  8. “But the real question is how can the Mac Mini sell in large volumes”

    Who gives a flying fart as long as it does already sell in large volumes? It is sold out. How much more can Apple sell than their complete inventory? The thing is flying off the shelves.

    MW “work”, as in “put more work in your research, morons!”

  9. Just one of the 1001 stories being generated about the Mac mini, eh? theloniusMac’s is a beauty, though, clearly illustrating how enterprise wastes money with Windows. (He’s spent a small fortune already bringing in people to de-virus and de-spyware his machines.)

    I bet we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we can put the Mac mini to work on. Thanks, thelonious — you made my day!

  10. Are all people who watch Sci-Fi on Friday night geeks?

    Mmmm, I must be a geek then.

    Mind you, I think Battlestar Galactica is like “Days of Our Lives” set in space. Pretty boring in my opinion. I’d rather watch original Star Trek episodes to be honest…. they had action, great stories and (often unintentional) humour. BG show takes itself too seriously and it is a bore as a result. Sorry, but I expected more action, not some talky cerebral show. Yea, I know, it’s cheaper to produce than a space battle each week – but even the ’70s version of the show had more action. If I want interrelationships, I’ll watch the L Word. I’ll stick with it a few more episodes tho and see if my opinion changes. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

    ps Did Thelonius Mac obtain his name from the late Jazz pianist/composer Thelonious Monk? I wonder.

  11. Now that is a true conversion story. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> I think you should submit it to Apple so they can make a whole Switch add about it. Actually, that would be a really cool television advertisement. You walk in, look at the giant Windows machine and the $1500 bill, pull out a Mac Mini from your briefcase, and he’s up and running. Oooh, that would get some switchers…

    -Russ

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